Melinda Kimball was serial killer Phillip Jablonski’s second wife, and the first woman he was convicted of killing. He was released on good behavior while serving time in her death, and went on to kill four more women.
Kimball, also known as Linda Kimball, was killed when she told Jablonski she was leaving him with their child.
Jablonski’s story is being told on Investigation Discovery’s Serial Killer Week. It airs Thursday, September 3, at 9 p.m. EST.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Melinda Kimball Was Murdered After She Told Jablonski She Was Leaving Him With Their Child
Melinda Kimball was murdered in 1978 when she told Jablonski she was leaving him with their child. Jablonski was interviewed by a person identified in court documents as Dr. Flanagan. He told Flanagan he killed Kimball because he did not want anyone else to have her.
Jablonski told the doctor he strangled her and sexually assaulted her because “he did not want to lose her,” according to an automatic appeal filed in the case of Carol Spadoni and Eva Petersen. Read more about the murder of Spadoni and Petersen here.
Another doctor, who testified about Jablonski’s behavior, said Jablonski “took possession of her, and prevented her from being possessed by any other man.” He described the behavior as psychotic.
2. Doctors Said Jablonski Was Likely Suffering From Undiagnosed Schizophrenia When He Murdered Kimball
Jablonski told a doctor he killed his second wife when she said she was leaving her with their child. He said he sexually assaulted her and strangled her because he did not want to lose her, according to an automatic appeal filed in his case. Another doctor analyzed the behavior, and determined that it was psychotic.
“Kormos commented that the fact there was no evidence of sexual assault, notwithstanding defendant’s description of the murder, was a further indication of defendant’s ‘tenuous hold on reality’ on ‘matters of violence, homicide, sex and so on.’ With respect to the current offenses, Kormos testified that defendant’s primary purpose in killing and mutilating the victims was to express disdain and contempt and to ‘seek revenge’ on them and to ‘solve . . . his relationships with his mother and women in general,” the appeal filed in his case said.
The doctor further said Jablonski’s intention was “to destroy and to be totally in possession of” his victims. He said Jablonski “was not able to distinguish right from wrong.”
3. Melinda Kimball Gave Birth to Their Daughter, a Girl, in 1977
Melinda Kimball gave birth to one of Jablonski’s children, a girl, in 1977. Jablonski and Kimball met in February, 1977, and by August of the same year, they were already living together, according to an automatic appeal filed in his case. The baby girl was named Meghan.
When Jablonski was arrested 11 days after Kimball’s death, police found a handwritten note about her murder.
“Killed to date, Linda Kimball, commonlaw wife. I told her she would never raise Meghan alone or leave me alive. She begged me not to kill her. You screamed but it was cut short,” the note said.
4. Melinda Kimball Left Jablonski After He Attacked Her Mother
On July 6, 1978, Melinda Kimball’s mother, Isobel Pahls, woke up with Jablonski on top of her, holding a knife to her throat. Pahls lived nearby Kimball and Jablonski. She testified Jablonski was wearing only underwear, and said he had come to rape her. He changed her mind because when he looked at her face, “all he could see was Linda’s face,” court documents said.
Pahls escaped to a neighbor’s house, but she did not report the incident because she was concerned for her daughter’s safety. Kimball promised her mom Jablonski would get care through the VA hospital.
However, Kimball decided to leave Jablonski and move in with her mother a few days later. She went back to the apartment she shared with Jablonski to pick up some of her possessions and things for the baby. Later that afternoon, July 16, 1978, she was found dead in the apartment with her wrists bound. She had been beaten, stabbed and strangled with a man’s belt. Jablonski was arrested in Arizona 11 days later.
5. Melinda Kimball Took Jablonski to the VA Hospital Twice, But They Would Not Admit Him
Melinda Kimball tried multiple times to get her husband mental healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs before he murdered her, and before he went on to murder four more women in a killing spree. However, the VA hospital turned Jablonski away, according to court documents filed in his case.
It was Jablonski’s attack on Kimball’s mother, Isobel Pahls, that prompted Kimball to leave her common law husband. She promised her mother she would get Jablonski help.
“Isobel Pahls testified that, after defendant attacked her, she called the Loma Linda VA and spoke to Dr. Kopiloff and reported the attack. Kopiloff told her not to call the police and assured her that the VA would take care of defendant. She testified that her daughter, Linda Kimball, was upset because, on the Monday after the attack on Pahls, she had driven defendant to the Loma Linda VA hospital and hospital personnel had declined to hospitalize him,” an automatic appeal filed in his case said. “Two days before he killed her, Kimball took defendant to a second appointment at the VA hospital and hospital personnel again declined to hospitalize him.”